FEBRUARY 24th, 2009 / 4th issue About Lumec

ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) free area

With the arrival on the market of high-intensity light-emitting diodes, a new technology is now available for urban and road lighting. Commonly referred to as LEDs, this light source is undisputedly the future of lighting. Their low energy consumption, their relatively long lifespan, their rapid-start, their capacity to be dimmed without loss of lifespan, their resistance to impact and shock, and their capacity to focus a light beam, have charmed even the most reticent in the lighting industry. They used to only be part of the electronic world, but now LEDs have finally come to the lighting world. It is known as the SSL (solid state lighting) technology.

Ethical market implementation of LED products that are said to be built by following the strictest standards of the electronic and lighting industry require some technical precautions, particularly in the control of electrostatic discharge events (ESD events). It's with that in mind that on the 17th of December, Lumec officially inaugurated its Antistatic Zone (ESD free area) for the development and assembly of electronic components.

Electronic components have a very high sensibility to electrostatic discharge: a single spark, such as the one that gives you a shock when you touch a metal door handle, discharges around 2000 volts. Usually the voltage from a static spark remains between 20volts and 50,000volts. Electronic component can be damaged by as little as 20 volts. That high-voltage/low-current spark can wreck havoc on voltage sensitive electronic components like LEDs, fusing, frying, or vaporizing their internal components, which are designed to function only on much lower voltage levels. An ESD event in a sensitive component can result in major failure, which could manifest instantly or only become apparent after days, weeks, months or years following the production of the device.

We must therefore exercise control over that aspect in order to eliminate the risk associated with electrostatic events. This control is achieved by making sure that no material component or living being that could be charged with electric potential ever transfers that electrostatic energy to an electronic component. In order to achieve that, we neutralize the equipment and personnel working in the Zone by connecting them to a ground that discharges all electric potential that could have accumulated on the person or on the object in question. This Zone then becomes a non-static discharge zone (antistatic or ESD control area) based on the ANSI/ESD S20.20-1999 guideline.

The ESD free assembly zone allows companies to offer electronic (compared to electric) products, such as LED lighting devices for instance, that follow the highest standards and procedures established the electronic industry.

Forward us your comments or questions at: lumec.suggestions@philips.com

In this issue

RoHS from the EU to North America

ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) free area

What does Sustainable Development really mean?


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